Here in the mountains the valleys are green and lushMay 14 | Posted by writer | News, Opinion Tags: Bette Sherman, Guest Column
Guest column by Bette Sherman
Every fall the oak trees shed only part of their leaves. The old, dry, brown dead leaves cling to the branches through the storms, wind, rain and snows of winter. Every spring I vow that I am going to watch carefully to see when these leaves fall and every year I fail. This year was no exception.
I am surrounded in my little house by oak trees and the goings and doing of nature are no farther than my windows and I am a nature watcher – or so I like to think.
I have decided that one night during the dark of the moon the oak leaf man comes and strips off all the dead leaves. The new, tiny oak leaves are there. They are lucky. Think of all the acorns that will never get a chance to grow into a mighty tree and have tiny little oak leaves.
Spring is quickly becoming a favorite time of year. Perhaps it’s because I’m old and the thought of new life is precious and very special.
Here in the mountains the valleys are green and lush. The dogwoods are in full display. The hills are like puff quilts with little mounds of green in all shades. Farther up the mountain the display is less spectacular and on the high ridges the skeletons of the trees are still standing naked. (A friend of mine used to say that those trees that stood on the ridges were the spirits of the Indians braves that used to inhabit this land.)
Almost everywhere I have ever lived there is a tree that for some reason is “my” tree. It doesn’t have to be on my property. It usually isn’t.
Along the road, in someone’s front yard are two weeping willows that from any vantage except up close they appear to be one tree. This tree is the first wisp of green in the spring – it is also one of the last to shed in the fall.
Every time I have passed I have vowed to stop and take a picture. We had some violent storms this spring and my tree is now wounded. I hate to save a memory of a broken friend, but I’m afraid this might be fatal. So, I will stop and take a picture and remember when it was whole and beautiful. It still makes me smile just because it is there.
Georgia mountain back roads. Maybe I’ve told you about the strange phenomena that exists in the mountain back roads. As with all eastern mountain roads, they are full of ups and downs and curves. When approaching the crest of hill you are never sure where the road is going to go. It might continue in a straight line, it can bend right or left. That is not unexpected; what is unexpected is a road that is curving to the left as it come to the crest you might expect it to continue curving left – no, it is liable to straighten out at the top or even suddenly turn right.
These hills are a motorcyclist paradise; but I have seen many of these two wheel wonders who go flying around the curves, leaning way over to find themselves among a herd of cows when the road wasn’t where they assumed it was going to be. Pasture grass is kinder to them than asphalt, most are uninjured, but have the strangest look on their faces – – - – wtf.
I’m sitting on the steps of the back deck, soaking in the sun and reading my book when I am accosted by an annoying buzzing. I look up and directly in front of my eyes, about 3 inches away is a large bee. He is hovering and staring right at me. I am not up on bee language, but he seems to be letting me know that he’s was not happy with my presents. He didn’t directly threaten me so I went back to soaking and reading. That’s not quite true. I was soaking while he was discussing his and my relationship, I wasn’t reading.
I was out there with the four dogs. Three of which were in the immediate vicinity. He wasn’t getting anywhere with me so he decided to annoy the dogs. They weren’t as nonchalant as I and they snapped. Aha, he was getting the response he desired so he continued to buzz, hover, threaten and tease.
This was a male carpenter bee and they don’t have stingers, (I was out there yesterday and googled bees to see what I was dealing with.) but they are territorial and they are persistent in their ability to annoy.
What really fascinated me were his wing movements; his ability to hover, fly straight up or down, left or right, and the speed of those wings. I don’t believe there is any part of me that has the ability to move that fast.
I wonder how long it will be before there are computers in aircraft that can make those kinds of computation to allow us to move like a bee.
We have so much to learn from other life forms that can do what we cannot.
Bette Sherman is a favorite of the Georgia Mountain Beacon and is a regular contributor. She is retired and is a pet-sitter who loves to write.